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yes well I'm not sure I really need the mask now I'm at a man with I'm you we
do Brady so let's take this off where'd that come from I made it myself
so it's unique I suppose I've always felt it's quite difficult to do unique
things with the periodic table I wanted to tell you about something else that I
did which I thought was unique as well with the periodic table one very nice
Segway professor it started a long time before lockdown
perta nearly five years ago I was playing on my computer one afternoon and
decided I can't remember why to flip the horizontal of the periodic table using
PowerPoint so what was pointing up suddenly pointed down and it was a sort
of joke but then when I looked at it I was really quite surprised because the
periodic table turned out to look something like this of course the first
time I did it the letters weren't the right way round I thought it was good if
you thought about the periodic table like a graph because when it's a graph
if you have the zero here things normally increase in this direction and
that one then the periodic table they increase in this direction for
everything like weight and so on increases when you go downwards so it's
a bit sort of upside down and this is really difficult when we talk to
chemists to our students about how the electrons fill up to give you the
structure of the periodic table it's got a German name it's called the Aufbau
principle meaning the building up principle somehow it doesn't sound good
to the students if you say this means building up and then you do it downwards
so I got quite excited about this and I wrote a little article about how having
the periodic table the other way up might be better certainly
from the point of view of teaching and I wrote to an expert on the periodic table
and said had he ever seen one like this and he said no so I got really excited
perhaps I'd done something new with the periodic table so I sent it to the
journal and the editor was quite excited but then he said hang on a minute
perhaps people will read it like a book from the left to the right and starting
at the top rather than the bottom where all the interesting elements like
hydrogen and helium are and they'll concentrate too much on the heavy
elements at the top so we were stuck and then I suddenly remembered that my
daughter who's an experimental psychologist who specializes in
measuring where people look tracking their eyes when they look at a picture
and so they could see whether I was looking at Brady or the camera or
whatever I decided I would collaborate with her never collaborated with my
daughter before in the scientific project so she and her colleague Alexis
set up an experiment not a very big one with 24 subjects so that people weren't
biased they used a blank periodic table with all the squares but not letters and
the results were really quite surprising what they found was that if you look at
a no ordinary periodic table you begin by looking in the middle and then your
eyes go to the top where hydrogen and helium are but with the inverted
periodic table you still begin in the middle but your
eyes gives downwards to the hydrogen and helium so we could prove to the editor
that the way people looked at our periodic table was different from a book
why is that professor does the paper or did your daughter conclude why no matter
where you put those elements hydrogen and helium and you know the world that's
where you go I think it's because the picture well the periodic table is
relatively symmetrical where the lanthanides and actinides and heavy
elements are but at the bottom or the top depending which one you're looking
at we're hydrogen helium are there a bit unsymmetrical and I think your eye is
drawn to things that are unsymmetrical and there was also thought that perhaps
the upside-down periodic table looked a bit like an animal with legs but that
wasn't really proved one way or another the numbers were significant but the
difference wasn't huge but it was enough to convince us and more importantly the
editor and the referees so that it was a real effect and if you're interested you
can read all the details in the supplementary information to the paper
there was then quite a long delay because chemistry journal had never
published a paper involving human subjects and there was a lot of extra
paperwork but it was published and I was really excited to have a paper with my
name and Ellen's name together professor be honest because it's just
you me and the periodic videos viewers was this bit of like a gimmick or a
publicity stunt or what are you trying to achieve here you're not seriously
trying to get every periodic table on a wall and a textbook in the world flipped
upside down a well I wanted to do was to make people think differently about the
periodic table I am showered by people sending me different sorts of the
periodic tables saying there's is much better than the conventional one and so
on I don't think ours is any better than
any other one but for some purposes like explaining the filling of the electron
shells could be useful there were some quite exciting things the New York Times
and the London Times wrote little articles about it never had my research
in the popular press before and then it caused quite a sensation in
Japan and a museum in Japan included a version of the periodic table in their
display for the International Year of the periodic table and best of all for
the closing ceremony of the International Year of the periodic table
in Tokyo a special fan was made you can see it here quite useful on the hot day
hand which has our upside-down periodic table on it but the really important
lesson for me was that you cannot really do anything very original with the
periodic table and sometime after the paper was published somebody pointed out
to me that the English theoretical chemistry stuff along get Higgins had
published the paper in 1957 when I was 9 years old not quite 10 and had never
heard of the periodic table saying perhaps it would be better to have the
periodic table the other way round for teaching the Aufbau principle in the end
I got the fun of publishing a paper by go quite a solitary lesson that you
cannot discover anything new about the periodic table except if you're Brady
who invented the periodic table of videos which I think really was original
if you've ever dreamed of having your name on the periodic table well I'm not
sure there's much we can do to help you with that that's a very select Club
some of the great names in science but what you can do is have your name on our
periodic table of patrons which looks like this this is a slightly less
exclusive but equally important club of people that support our project on
patreon we update this table every month or two with names of people who've
adopted elements patreon supporters also receive occasional exclusive extras
photos behind-the-scenes stuff if you're interested go to
description thanks everyone for watching we'll be back again soon with more
stories from the periodic table that one not the patreon one